MOSCOW, July 23 (RAPSI) – A criminal court in the Qashqadaryo Province, southern Uzbekistan, has sentenced six citizens of Uzbekistan, including three women, to between nine and 15 years in prison for involvement in the terrorist organization, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a court representative told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

The guilty verdicts were handed down under Article 155 of the Uzbek Criminal Code (terrorism), Article 159 (infringement on the constitutional system), Article 244 (creation and masterminding of, and participation in, extremist religious, separatist, fundamentalist or other prohibited organizations).

The source said that the defendants often went to Russia, where they tried to spread extremist ideas among Uzbeks living in Russia.

“The investigation provided conclusive evidence of the group members’ intentions to carry their activity into Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the source said.

Many members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which is based in Afghanistan and is connected with the Taliban and al Qaida, have been arrested in Uzbekistan.

The IMU is a militant Islamist group. It was established in Uzbekistan in 1996 by politicians who moved to Afghanistan when their parties were banned. Russia, some Central Asian countries and the United States have prohibited the IMU as a terrorist organization.